It can be very disheartening when after weeks or months or even years of managing to live with your chronic illness you hit a setback. You may have a flare-up of sorts or a bad reaction to a medication, and suddenly you are bed-ridden and all your progress feels like a distant memory.
Even when you’re back to feeling like yourself it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. Here are a few tips to help you still move forward despite any setbacks that might come your way.
Give Yourself the Rest You Need
It can be tempting after a setback to jump right back into the same amount of exercise and work that you were doing before. But you have to remember to build yourself back up to where you were. And if you push yourself too hard before you’re ready it could negatively affect your health.
You don’t need to go looking for shortcuts. Just try to be patient and commit yourself to plugging away each day at a pace you can handle.
It’s perfectly normal to need help after a setback and friends and family can be great sources of support. You might be surprised how willing those closest to you will be to lend a helping hand. They care about you, after all.
You might also consider joining a support group where you can meet and talk with others who are dealing with the same illness. The members of a support group may understand your symptoms in a way your friends and family don’t, and have suggestions for coping with your condition.
Sometimes after a setback your own mind can be your worst enemy. It will spout out negative thoughts like, “You can’t do this” and “You’re weak”. It’s important to notice when you insult yourself like this and turn the language around. It may take you more than one try, but you can do whatever you put your mind to. You’re not weak, you’re strong—you had a setback and here you are, working to get on with your life.
The person you lie the most to is yourself. Work to recognize those lies and talk back to them.
Get a Routine
Once you can handle it, it’s good to get back into a regular routine. That will help you to reform your old habits. As I said earlier, you should start slow, but eventually work your way up to daily walks, exercise, and meditation. Getting these things done first thing in the morning will help to prepare you for a productive day.
Setbacks can be very distressing but they are by no means impossible to bounce back from. You just have to remember to give yourself adequate time to heal, reach out to the people close to you for support, think positive, and work to keep your routine once you’re ready.